Earlier this year, Verizon Wireless was showing strong interest in the Palm Pre. That interest has apparently waned, as a new report says that this carrier may have dropped its plans to offer the first webOS-based smartphone.
UPDATE: A second report has come out saying there is no basis for this one. For more information: Maybe Verizon Will Get the Palm Pre After All
In late July, Verizon executives said their company would introduce Palm’s latest “early next year”. The wait was caused by an agreement that gave Sprint exclusive rights to offer the Pre for six months after its debut.
This may have changed. Citing unnamed sources “close to the discussions”, The Street says that Verizon is much less enthusiastic about this smartphone.
According to this report, this carrier will either not offer the Palm Pre at all, or will release it in small numbers without any marketing to back it up.
Not the Blockbuster People Were Hoping
Both Palm and Sprint have been fairly quiet about how many Pre units have been sold since the debut in May, but most analysts believe that number is around 600,000.
That’s enough to make it a moderate success, but many are considering the fact that it has yet to pass the 1 million mark as a strike against it. This is especially true in comparison with the Apple iPhone 3GS, which broke the million mark on its launch weekend.
It’s possible Verizon is turning its eyes elsewhere to find a competitor for the iPhone, which is exclusively available from AT&T. This carrier is rumored to be prepping a pair of models running Google’s Android OS, and reportedly has quite a few Windows Mobile-based devices on its docket.
Good News, Bad News
If this unconfirmed report is true, it’s clearly not good news for Palm. It’s depending on webOS-based models like the Pre and its follow-up, the Palm Pixi, to make it a significant player in the global smartphone market again. To do that it needs every carrier it can get.
This, this report comes in the wake of today’s announcement that the Pre will be released next month by O2 in the U.K., Germany, and Ireland. It is already available in Canada.
An Overview of the Palm Pre and the webOS
The Palm Pre uses Palm’s webOS, the replacement for the venerable Palm OS. This is a new, multi-tasking operating system able to wirelessly synchronize a wide variety of data with online services like Google and Facebook, as well as Microsoft Exchange.
The webOS includes an on-device app store, and a growing collection of third-party software is available.
The Pre itself features a sliding keyboard as well as a multi-touch-capable 3.1-inch display. This device is also equipped with 8 GB of on-board storage (7 GB available to users), Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, and a 3.0 megapixel camera with LED flash.
So far, the exclusive U.S. provider of this smartphone is Sprint, who has added its mobile broadband service EV-DO Rev. A. A Verizon version would also have EV-DO.
Source: The Street